The holidays are a great time to get kids involved in the kitchen. They get excited about the festivities, and usually the menu is more fun and exciting than the normal rotation. For Valentine’s day, I had my kiddos help prepare three easy and fun dishes. These are perfect party foods or a simple way to add some fun to Valentine’s day this year. Enjoy!

Love Bugs
How adorable are these little squishy desserts? These pink cream-filled chocolate cakes are just meant for Valentine’s day. Have fun creating your own little love bug with whatever edible details you can think of!

Hostess Snoballs
Mini chocolate chips
Pocky sticks (can be found in Asian food aisle)
Dots candy
Cupcake decorations (eyes, mustaches, etc.)

1. Make the antennas – Break a Pocky stick to your desired length, insert a Dots candy onto the top. Stick the antennas into the Snoball.

2. Create the face – Use the chocolate chips to make the eyes. If you are using candy googly eyes, you can melt a little bit of chocolate and use that as glue to attach to the Snoball. I attached the candy mustaches with a tiny toothpick, so make sure you remove that before eating! You could also use watermelon shaped gummy candies for a mouth.  

Heart Shaped Sweet Potato-Bacon Biscuits
Start off Valentine’s breakfast with some biscuits! The added sweet potato provides a good burst of vitamin A and fiber. This biscuit recipe was from the Betty Crocker Kids Cook cookbook, so it’s an easy one to do with kids. With the addition of a heart shape, it’s a side that works year round, so the creative possibilities are endless! 

1 1/2cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
8 slices bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled 
½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
¼ cup butter, frozen
2/3 cup mashed canned sweet potatoes (from 15-oz can)
2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Heart shaped cookie cutter (optional)

1. Heat oven to 450°F. In large bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt; stir in bacon and thyme. Shred frozen butter, using large holes of grater; add to flour mixture and toss to coat. Stir in sweet potato and buttermilk just until soft dough forms.
2. Place dough on lightly floured surface; gently roll in flour to coat. Knead lightly 4 or 5 times. Press or roll dough to 3/4-inch thickness. Cut with floured cookie cutter. On ungreased cookie sheet, place biscuits about 1 inch apart.

3. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Brush with melted butter. Serve warm.

Heart Shaped Pizzas
Most kids and adults enjoy pizza, and this meal is easy to customize to your liking. Set up a pizza building station and let everyone be part of the process. Be sure to keep the thickness of the pizza consistent, so that it bakes evenly. Have fun with your toppings – we cut out little pepperoni hearts!

Pizza dough (either dry package mix or refrigerated dough)
Pizza sauce
Mozzarella cheese
Toppings: Pepperoni, bacon bits, cooked sausage, basil, spinach, mushrooms, olives, chopped tomatoes, anything you can think of!
Heart shaped cookie cutter (optional)

1. Prepare dough as stated on package.
2. Use cookie cutter or freeform your dough into heart shaped pieces.
3. Bake as directed!

Notes: If you don’t have a cookie cutter, you can form heart shapes with your hands. I made the spinach pizza without a cookie cutter. Just make sure to exaggerate the curves so that the baked pizza maintains the shape. You can see that the top of the spinach pizza doesn’t have as well defined curves as the cookie cutter versions. You can also cut the dough into “x’s” and “o’s”.

Adding heart shapes or a special Valentine themed dessert to your menu makes the day a little more fun! Hopefully these ideas give you inspiration to craft a menu that is tasty and festive for your family. Happy Valentine’s day!

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Carolyn Wieland

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